Sunday, February 11, 2018

It's a bad time for me.

Well, fuck me! It's been a rough week.

First, let me share this excerpt from a social media post on Friday evening that'll really help set the tone:
I’ve had a terrible last 48 hours. I’m not feeling that much better, but I thought I’d reach out to those struggling and just say I’m sorry we’re all on this shitty boat together. 
An ongoing sore spot for me is my ability to take care of myself financially. If I let myself focus too intensely on losing an income and my ability to find and keep stable work - I have a panic attack. A bad week at work triggers many things in me. These days though it’s just deep dread and self-loathing. It’s shame and it’s guilt and it’s a weight in my chest. I’m still alive, and I know that’s something, but these days it’s painful. I feel limited and broken and incapable of functioning. I’m not the architect of depression, nothing I feel is original, but I feel so firmly inhabited by it. Usually haunted but these days possessed. 
It is such an awful thing. It’s very nature made to make you feel weak, whiny and spoiled for even naming it. What a luxury to have such a convenient, invisible disease. One that robs you of ambition. One that keeps your decisions safe and your hopes for yourself soft and low. I’m sure it’s the depression, and the exhaustion that marries it that keeps you in a lacklustre suit and not your utter lack of discipline or work ethic. And when you try, and things get bad again you’ll remember why you try and keep your life small. You’ll be reminded by everything in your life. Because everything you love and celebrate on a good day screams your incompetence back at you on a bad one. They’re all things you need to take care of - but can’t. 
Your dog thinks you’re a downer. Your life is too big, you can’t take care of it. This space you occupy is filled with things you now want to sell - to save yourself from becoming the wretch you feel you’re destined to become. 
This is only some of it. Last night was worse. My heart is racing and my mind with it. I am so sick of this invisible disease and I’m furious and uncontrollably discouraged about living where any and all care I could possibly access takes money, leisure time and a tremendous amount of energy. 
I hope pain is a limited resource and when mine is great it’s lessened for somebody else.

Things aren't going well with my new job. Initially, I thought it was friction with my manager that would pass, but it turns out I was incredibly naive about that. My manager's boss met with me this week in a meeting I'm still unclear on. She said they were wondering if they should re-sign my contract when it terminates, or if they should even fulfill my current contract, because of a list of points.

The main point being I had a huge problem with my manager and sick-days. I had 5-day a week medical treatments at a hospital, and it meant going over my allotted sick-day credits. I took some in vacation time, and it just caused a huge problem.

Then there's an appointment I took my mother to, that was in my name, not hers, that I marked as a family day, and should not have. Having apologized for the misunderstanding (my misunderstanding of what constituted a family day) the issue was constantly brought back up as if I was attempting some kind of serious fraud. Which I don't get. My manager was so aggressive and odd about the whole thing when I asked questions because I didn't understand it was like she was trying to trap me in a lie. It was so hostile.

She then went on about second chances and her experiences in the department, and if I had anything to say, but all I did was cry. She told me I could feel safe and tell my side of things but I couldn't. I told her I felt it was more than professional (my manager does not like me) and that I was upset because she was telling me I might lose my job.

There are a lot of examples of my manager not liking me, and why I have the feeling it's personal. I even spoke to someone in HR about it months ago. I've spoken to colleagues about it, and they've noticed it as well. If we all went out to lunch together and came back 15 minutes late, I would be the only one who would get an e-mail about it. Once, while "standing guard" at a door, she saw me on my work cell phone and told me to put my personal cell phone away. I corrected her, and said it was my work phone, and she got irritated and snapped that it didn't look good and started getting mad at me so I stopped trying to talk to her about it, even though my colleague openly admitted to being on his personal phone the entire time, and got no comments from her. It's a ton of little things like that. If the team needed something, there was a time we tested what would happen if I asked versus someone else asking. And, in group meetings, I would often say things that were dismissed, or I was responded to as if I was lying, so one of my colleagues would have to agree with me, and repeat what I was saying or else what I was saying would not be heard.

The main thing that upset me the most was early on when I told her we needed professional movers to move boxes because two of my colleagues were going to burn out, doing physical labor that should not be part of their job. She rejected the comment and was very snide with me, saying it's what we're paid to do. When I went back to my colleagues and told them that, one broke-down. She ended up giving her notice the next week. As a reaction to the near burn-out and notice, my manager hired some part-time movers to help us. But it took someone quitting. When she wrote out to the manager her notice, she never got an actual response, and it was an ongoing issue of not feeling heard for most of us. So I did not trust her from the get-go, which she no doubt must have realized.

I was also reprimanded because there was a day when we were all making boxes and we had no black permanent markers left. I asked to order some, and was met with hostility and suspicion, did we really need them? It might take a while, could we get by without them? We're a team of 4-6 making hundreds of boxes a day - the reaction was nonsensical. So I went to the office supply store and got markers. And I said if I'm reimbursed fine if not, that's okay too. That did not go well.

A lot of the friction has been around me taking liberties I shouldn't be taking anymore now that my employer is the federal government. Apparently, all those bureaucratic jokes about it taking 4-6 weeks before your pencil order comes in isn't a joke. It's something I have a lot of trouble with. Clearly.

During the meeting with my manager's boss I mentioned that when I heard she was leaving I was hoping to benefit from a fresh start with the new manager, who I already prefer. Having said that, the department clearly has a laundry list of issues with me, which isn't something I can easily get over or look past.

She said we'd meet again in a few weeks with my new manager. That didn't leave me feeling great. For now I'm going to just keep going to work and doing the best I can, while also spending as little money as possible since it feels like I'm going to lose my job.

Sure, maybe part of that meeting was to get me to smarten up and move forward, but I felt it was more in line with her doing her due-diligence before firing me to keep the union happy. A union I've never seen or heard from by the way.

If this happened on Thursday, I got home in a panic. I cried the entire bus ride home and most of the night. I have cried more in the last 6 months, at work, than I have in the last decade of my life. I asked a friend if I could text her to "let things out" in order to attempt to decompress a little. I know what happens when you call suicide hotlines. They tell you to call a friend if you can. I guess it's an attempt to get you back in your "real life" with people who actually know you, but what it feels like is a dodge. It all feels like a dodge.

I went to work Friday, kept busy with the job, and came home Friday night quite well rooted in a mix of situational sadness and deep depression.

  1. I am not capable of having a decent job because I'm a piece of shit.
  2. I am unable to take care of myself.
  3. I am 34 and dependent on my mother.
  4. If my mother passes before me, I'm fucked.
  5. I shouldn't have adopted my dog, I'm a fuck-up. 
  6. I don't deserve a job with actual reasonable working conditions.
  7. I have an undeserved ego/pride.
  8. I am incapable of holding down a job.
  9. I need to get "worse" jobs that I deserve.
  10. I will never be able to afford care (therapy, classes, yoga, self-care). 
  11. My inability to understand the complexities of all the interactions with my manager over the last few months clearly shows I have a diminishing mental capacity. 
  12. I am a drain on my mother.
  13. I am a drain on my friends and family.
  14. I am a disappointment to my friends and family.
  15. This was my one chance to get into the public sector and I fucked it up. 
  16. I would need to live in affordable housing, but my mental illness is borderline severe so I will never be helped by any official social services.
  17. Any care I could access would have to be paid out of pocket, which I will never be able to afford, so I will never access it. 
  18. All of this was avoidable, but I was too nonchalant because I'm dissociative. 

It goes on and on.

At this point, 2-3 days after the shock of it all I'm calmer, so maybe this makes a little more sense than the sheer panic of Thursday and Friday. It's quieter now.

Yesterday I went to the dog park, ran some simple errands and watched documentaries all day. I watched I Am Not Your Negro and I Am Another You, which hit close to home since it was about being homeless due (in large part) to mental illness. Great timing on that one.

Today I went to the dog park, did some laundry and might watch another movie or cook something.

Sometimes I fall into this crevasse of thinking about losing my job and my heart starts to race.

Other times a feeling of uselessness just slowly covers me up.

It's not a great time. It's not a good time. It's a bad time for me.

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